Senate Dems call for investigation of acting SEC chairman

Senate Dems call for investigation of acting SEC chairman
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Four Senate Banking Committee Democrats on Wednesday called for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) internal watchdog to investigate the agency’s acting chairman, Michael Piwowar.

In a letter to SEC inspector general Carl Hoecker, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Biden eyes new path for Fed despite Powell pick Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Storms a growing danger for East Coast MORE (Mass.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSpending bill faces Senate scramble Republicans raise concerns over Biden's nominee for ambassador to Germany Biden sets off high-stakes scramble over spending framework MORE (N.J.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownFive Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO Biden sidesteps Fed fight, disappointing progressive allies MORE (Ohio) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) wrote that they’re “concerned that [Piwowar's] actions may lack adequate justification, undermine the SEC's mission, exceed his authority as Acting Chairman, violate other procedural requirements, and could potentially prove to be a waste of the SEC staff's precious time and resources.”

Piwowar has taken unusually aggressive steps to reel in SEC rules panned by Republicans during his short tenure as acting chairman.

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Acting chiefs usually serve as caretakers until they’re replaced by the president’s appointee, but Piwowar has directed the SEC to reconsider two Obama-era rules: one on conflict mineral trades, the other on how corporations report how much money executives make compared to their employees.

Piwowar also "impos[ed] fresh curbs on the agency's enforcement staff, scaling back their powers to initiate subpoenas and conduct investigations of alleged financial misdeeds,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Democrats claimed Piwowar’s actions are based on his political preferences, not the SEC’s mission, and could have been made without consulting his only co-commissioner, Democrat Kara Stein, or Jay Clayton, Trump’s pick to lead the agency.

“We ask that you conduct an investigation into each of these decisions to determine whether they are legally permissible and in keeping with the SEC's core mission,” the senators wrote.